Thursday, April 23, 2009


Homework: Juggling Home, Work, and School Without Losing Your Balance

This book from The Old Schoolhouse is packed with inspiring stories of families who not only homeschool, but also run businesses. It is their unique story. Each family has their own style of schooling. Each family has a unique business. All the families have a passion for what they are doing.

I have tried my hand at multiple ventures. The problem I had, was that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I knew I needed something to make extra money, so I followed every whim. Somewhere in the middle of my last whim, I realized that I had not found what I could truly be passionate about. This book really inspired me to begin that search. It talks about so many different types of businesses. Some of them are very unique, designed by the family to meet their specific needs and passions. Some of the businesses are consultant businesses, working with a bigger parent company. The variety was very helpful, giving me some ideas to take to the drawing board. Most of the contributors talked about daily life. How do they balance all they do? I found this book to be inspiring. Even if you don't want to run a business, it is an inspiring tale of how to organize and balance school and life.

Writer's Workshop

Writer's Workshop: Getting Kids Excited About Writing by Maggie Hogan

This is a great resource for anyone thinking of organizing a co-op. This will take you step by step through the process of organizing, planning, and running your "Writer's Workshop". It does not, however, give any actual writing lessons. Many of the steps and ideas given are similar to what I use for a science co-op. But, there are many unique elements that only apply to writing. I have not been a fan of the WeE-books up to this point because of their broad generalizations. This one, however, is perfect for its purpose.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Homeschooling the Rebel by Deborah Wueler

I was really excited to dig into this book. My oldest son is ten years old. We started homeschooling him after first grade. I was scared to death. When he was in first grade he had homework. It was very simple work that should have taken about 15 minutes. It would end up taking three hours, and usually involved some yelling. In fact, I wish I had this book then. It could have spared me from the downward spiral of the last three years. It is extremely frustrating trying to teach someone that refuses to learn, follow directions, and do their work. Opening this WeE-book I thought, "great, finally I will learn how to change my child." I really should know better than that by now. Instead, I opened the book to find clear directions on how to change me: my teaching style, my attitude, my reactions to his rebellion, and what I teach. The book reminded me that I need to spend more time in prayer. Overall, I don't think the book really told me anything that I didn't already know. Partly because I have been researching this topic for some time now. It's the practical application that I struggle with. Though it was very encouraging. This is the second WeE-book I have reviewed. The problem I see with them is that they are very generic. There isn't a lot of space to go into great detail on the topic. I would be interested to read Part 2 of the series before I recommend this one way or the other.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Flying Creatures

We have been studying birds for several weeks now, but I have been lax in posting about it. I am thoroughly in love with this study. The reading just cracks everyone up. I will read part of a section, and then stop for discussion. We always come up with some great conversation about what I just read. Then I will start reading again, and I swear almost every time, it will say exactly what we just talked about. The kids have been drawing some amazing pictures of birds. We built birdhouses. We made bird feeders out of juice bottles. I will have to see if I can scan some of the kid's pictures and post them here. I have also been having a blast photographing birds. It all started several weeks ago when we went on a nature scavenger hunt. I did not want the kids actually gathering all the "nature stuff" on the list. I am more of an indoor kinda girl, and don't do well with dirt, bugs, or most other outdoor stuff. So I thought, rather than collecting the things on the list, we would photograph them. Since then, I have been taking my camera everywhere and getting pictures of all sorts of different birds. It probably helps that we also just got a new camera that I absolutely love. It is a Nikon Coolpix P80. I highly recommend it for the non-photographers like me. It is so fun and easy to use, that even I can take good pictures with it. And don't get me started about the stop motion feature it has. I have gotten some great shots of birds using that. So last night, I was looking online at ordering some owl pellets and some caterpillars or butterfly larvae. I think those would be great fun to add to our lessons. Next week we are talking about nesting. Our project is to see if we can build a nest as well as birds. Of course, that involves mud, dirt, and other "yucky" stuff. I may have to look for an alternative craft, that uses some materials that are less gross.